A finance consultant who won thousands of pounds on The Chase also made thousands by stealing money from the bank accounts of dead people.
However, he has now been found guilty of using his insider financial knowledge to get his hands on money that didn’t belong to him.
He was found to have abused his position at a Halifax location in Leyland to transfer cash between accounts of deceased customers before taking payments and moving them to his own account.
Hodgin was also found to have duplicated a payment of £4,500 for funeral expenses to himself. In total, he stole £53,000.
The judge at Preston Crown Court heard that the financier had been ‘living beyond his means’ for years now, but the charade came tumbling down in August 2021 when Lloyds Banking Group – who own Halifax – spotted two fraudulent transactions to Hodgin totalling more than £30,000.
Investigation into the matter revealed that there were more dormant accounts reactivated and shifting money around, with Hodgin accused by prosecutors of setting up different standing orders before cancelling them, or having fraudulent loans paid into accounts before paying them out to himself.
Judge Simon Medland KC said: "It was akin to layering, and making the financial trail enormously complicated.”
Hodgin was also found to have converted a woman’s current account to a joint account just days before she died before transferring £3,000 to himself. He then stole £16,000 more and duplicated her funeral expenses before taking them himself.
Prosecutor David Clarke said: "He was able to circumvent all the banking security protocols".
After an interview with police in August 2021, Hodgin admitted that he’d ‘done something stupid’.
Mr Clarke said: "His health wasn't good, his wife was unwell and he had carried out the frauds because of financial difficulties.
“He had over borrowed on loans and credit cards.”
Defending Hodgin, Amy Chestnutt said: "Through his work in the banking industry he was personally involved in helping people get out of debt.
“Against that backdrop it must have been truly embarrassing to admit to his employers he was in such crushing debt.
“He had been in debt since 2008 but kept it all hidden.
“He acknowledges the bereaved families would have been distressed that he took from the estates that should have gone to their families."
She added that since his crimes were realised, he’s worked with charities Step Change and Minds Matter to get to the bottom of why he did it.
The judge told him: "For reasons that aren't satisfactorily explained, you began to lead a life which was significantly beyond your legitimate means, and racked up debts.
“You sought to satisfy this and get yourself out of trouble in a very sophisticated, cunning and prolonged way.
"You misused the knowledge you had of the systems in the bank where you were working, and robbing Peter to pay Paul - but you were the ultimate beneficiary of these funds.
“It will follow, from a description of your career to date that you have no previous convictions.
"That is mitigation but it is also balanced against the fact that that was why you had such a job in the first place.
“By some process, eventually, all the money will be repaid - either by taking money from your pension entitlement or by some other process."
Hodgin was sentenced to 20-months in prison, although that is suspended for two years.
He must also perform 200 hours of unpaid work and return to the court on December 9 for a Proceeds of Crime hearing.
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